Chefchaouen in Morocco: A Guide To The Blue City
Chefchaouen is a small town set amidst the Rif Mountains in the northwest of Morocco. It’s also known as the Blue City because of its stunning blue buildings in the old town. And while it is still a relative mystery as to why the houses are painted blue, this charming town has a rich and interesting history waiting to be heard. In this article, we'll highlight the most important things to know, where to stay, where to eat and drink, and the best things to do in Chefchaouen.
Check out our video on Chefchaouen to see this full itinerary through our camera!
Table Of Contents
Important Things To Know
Best time to travel to Chefchaouen in Morocco
The best time to visit Chefchaouen is from April until June and from September until November. In these months, you will have good weather and not too many tourists. As this town is so small, it gets often overcrowded in the summer months which will take away from your experience. Keep in mind that at the beginning of spring and at the end of autumn, rain is not unusual.
Cost and currency
Chefchaouen is very affordable. Everything from food to accommodation is cheap. This is why this town is a must-visit when you're traveling on a tight budget. In Morocco, they use the Moroccan Dirham, so if you plan on going, keep an eye on the exchange rates to save more money.
Safety in Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen is safe. You will most likely not experience any problems in this beautiful town. The only thing that you need to be cautious about is strangers offering you illegal drugs, such as hashish.
Where To Stay In Chefchouen
Résidence Hoteliére Chez Aziz: We stayed here and couldn't be happier. This place has everything you need, from a nice shower to a great location.
Riad La Santa: Friendly hosts and an amazing view of the mountains.
Where To Eat And Drink
Toda Creperie & ice cream: the best crêpes!
Cafe Clock: great food and often live music after 7:30 PM
Bar Oum Rabie: one of the only places where you can drink alcohol in Chefchaouen, also very cheap food!
Sofía restaurant: affordable food recommended by our tour guide in Chefchaouen
Le coin restaurant: great affordable international food! We ate here twice because we got a little tired of Moroccan food after 3 weeks of traveling the country
Best Things To Do In Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen in Morocco is small but still has a lot to offer. We will mention our 6 favorite places to visit. We recommend staying a day or two enjoying all the best things to do in Chefchaouen, and three days or more if you want to venture to the surrounding Rif Mountains. You can also visit Chefchaouen on a day trip from Fez or Tangier.
If you're traveling to Chefchaouen in Morocco and want to save time searching for directions to all of the places we mention in this article, then look no further than our custom map. Simply click on a point in the map below to get directions there for yourself!
6. Marvel at the blue houses
The number one reason to visit Chefchaouen is for its beautiful streets, filled with houses painted in different shades of blue. In fact, Chefchaouen has become a major tourist attraction in the last decade because of blue pictures circulating on social media. The best way to explore the blue houses is to simply get lost in the alleyways and take photos. Just keep in mind that some of the ‘Insta famous’ places will charge you a small fee to take a photo there.
5. Guided tour of the Old Town
While Chefchaouen may seem like a recent phenomenon on social media, the city has an intriguing history that dates back to the 15th Century. The best way to learn about it is by joining a guided tour of the Old Town. The tours take you to the most important sights, such as the main square (plaza Uta el Hammam), the Grand Mosque, and the outside of the Kasbah. The tour we took also went deeper into the small blue alleys and markets until reaching the city walls viewpoint. We also passed by the river and unique washing stations, which we’ll explain in more detail at number 3 on our countdown.
4. Visit the Kasbah Museum
In the bustling main square sits the red-walled Kasbah, a 15th-century fortress and dungeon. Inside the walls you can find Andalusian Gardens as well as a museum that features a collection of artifacts from the Chefchaouen region. It’s a peaceful escape from the city and another great opportunity to learn a bit more about the history of this area. At the time we visited, the historical signs were only available in Arabic, French, and Spanish, so having a basic knowledge of one of the languages or translation app (download Google Translate and use the offline version!) would be useful. There’s also a a Portuguese Tower that you can climb with a beautiful view over the city.
3. Stroll around Ras El Ma
The most peaceful and fascinating area of Chefchaouen is Ras El Ma. Here, the fresh mountain water trickles into the town. It’s the main water resource for the population and used to be a popular hangout spot for locals. Women traditionally gathered along the banks of the river to socialize as they washed clothes and blankets. And while today most families prefer washing at home, it’s still a refreshing place to escape the heat and gain an insight into daily life.
2. Go hiking in the Rif Mountains
As a mountain town, Chefchaouen is surrounded by beautiful nature. The Rif Mountains might be lesser known than the Atlas Mountains, but are equally beautiful. Lush forests and impressive peaks rise above the Mediterranean and provide great hiking routes. Right outside Chefchaouen, you can find the Talassemtane National Park, with different trails such as the Akchour Waterfalls and God’s Bridge. We hiked to the latter one, which is a rock arch that spans the river. There are also playful macaque monkeys in the surrounding forest, making this an interesting day outing! One of the downsides of this hike though was that there were many restaurants along the water's edge as well as trash in the river. This took away some of the natural beauty in our opinion.
Are you visiting Fez as well? Check out our article about the best things to do in Fez.
1. Watch the sunset from the Spanish Mosque
Finally, we recommend ending your visit in Chefchaouen with a magical sunset over the city and mountains. There are many viewpoints around the city, but the Spanish Mosque might be the most popular and beautiful one. It’s an easy 20 to 30 minute hike to the top, and there is a clear path that leaves from Ras El Ma to the hilltop. We were unlucky because it was too cloudy but even then the view is worth it!
Use These Websites To Save Money On Your Trip To Chefchaouen in Morocco
Booking.com for places to stay
Skyscanner for cheap flights
GetYourGuide for local tours
Rentalcars.com for affordable car rentals
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Other Top Chefchaouen resources:
If you're looking for some other suggestions and tips on Chefchaouen, here are some great articles that will help you:
9 Best Things To Do In Chefchaouen, Morocco by Salt In Our Hair
12 Best Things To Do In Chefchaouen, The Blue City Of Morocco by Journal of Nomads
Top 10 Things to do in Chefchaouen – The Blue Pearl of Morocco by The Road Is Life
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